“Peace isn’t a dream, and it’s not passive. It’s the result of working hard, earning trust, and having open conversations that may be difficult.”
As published in the July 2023 Issue of Rotary Magazine
Even as we face new and serious challenges, Rotary takes care of its members in those we serve, works to build lasting peace, and embeds belonging and inclusion in everything we do. That is why I am asking everyone in Rotary to Create Hope in the World.
This year, we’re prioritizing projects to support mental health. This effort is deeply personal to me. I know what it’s like to see someone suffer in silence. I have also witnessed the power of personal connections, the value of discussing emotional and mental well-being, and the life-saving impact of preventative care and treatment.
Research shows that performing acts of kindness is an effective step any of us can take to protect our well-being. And by building peace within, we become more capable of bringing peace to the world.
Building peace is the essence of Rotary. Many of our service projects foster the conditions for Positive Peace. We worked tirelessly to overcome barriers and create new connections. This year, we will promote virtual international exchanges for members to track to strengthen those vital connections.
Peace isn’t a dream, and it’s not passive. It’s the result of working hard, earning trust, and having open conversations that may be difficult. Peace must be wedged persistently – and briefly. Everything we do across our areas of focus has the potential to foster the hope that can make peace possible.
The spirit of connection and purpose should inspire every Rotary member. Club leaders focus on offering an expert club experience, we retain more members and attract more prospective members. We must make our clubs as welcoming and as engaging as we can.
Our goal is to create a sense of belonging, from our club meetings to our service activities. We need to continue creating inclusive, welcoming environment where everyone can be their authentic selves. All people of action need to be able to imagine a place for themselves and Rotary – it’s up to us to ensure they can do so.
Over the next year, I will be putting a focus on continuing our journey in diversity, equity, and inclusion – ensuring that Rotary reflects the communities we serve and continue to take significant steps toward accessing the full range of human talents and experiences, so that we can better serve humanity. And we will continue to empower women and girls by helping them unlock the potential already within them.
As we begin this journey together, I take inspiration from Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns, who in the 18th century spoke of all the world become in Ken, promoting “sense and worth, over all the earth.” This has long been my call to action, and I share it now with you.
Let us feel peace within and spread it freely. Let us create belonging and imagine the future of Rotary afresh. Let us work together joyously and Create Hope in the World.
President, Rotary International